Residents concerned as brush fire spreads on Signal Mountain
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
Thanks to dry and breezy conditions, a large brush fire continues to spread on Signal Mountain. After day four, the damage had reached 80 acres at last count.
Although the fire is not directly threatening any homes right now, residents tell us they are still worried.
The large clouds of smoke are a concern for Gene Hegi.
"I wanted to see how these fires above our house were doing," he said. "It looks like they're still alive."
Hegi is keeping an eye on the hot spots closest to his home.
"Fire crews began telling us that we need to be thinking about what we would take with us if we had to evacuate," he said. "Not that they were threatening us with an evacuation order, but in case it did happen."
Residents like Karen West share that worry not only for her home, but for the safety of crews fighting the blaze for four days straight.
"The majority of the people that are (fighting) this fire, they're good friends of mine, a couple in particular," West said. "So I just really hope and pray that they're safe."
"Thank you is not enough. (The first responders) are just amazing," said Karen Reid.
She doesn't live on Signal, but drove up just to show thanks.
"I brought water, sandwiches, Gatorades, snack bars," she said.
Reid lost friends and neighbors in the deadly house fire on Houser Street in Chattanooga two years ago.
She said she understands firefighters' sacrifice: putting others' safety before their own.
"They've been out here working all day, and they take one little quarter piece of a sandwich because they want to make sure their coworker, their buddy, has one," Reid said with tears in her eyes. "I said, please, take more, you've worked hard and used a lot of energy."
"That, to me, is just amazing. They're selfless people."
Crews left the woods at dusk and will return in the morning. That's when the Tennessee Forestry Division will assume command until the brush fire is out.